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Maryland spring primer: Defensive backs

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Part of a position-by-position look at Maryland football this spring

Running down Maryland’s secondary …

Starters returning (2): CB Dexter McDougle (44 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 3 INT, 12 games started), S Eric Franklin (106 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 12 games started)

Other notable returnees: S Matt Robinson (36 tackles, 2 TFL, 3 games started), S A.J. Hendy (30 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT, 3 games started)

Starters lost (2): CB Cameron Chism (graduation; 47 tackles, 2 TFL, 3 INT, 9 games started), S Titus Till (transfer to James Madison; 47 tackles, 0.5 TFL)

Other notable departures: Defensive coordinator/secondary coach Todd Bradford, CB Trenton Hughes (graduation; 27 tackles, 3 games started)

Notable additions: CB Isaac Goins (junior college transfer); defensive coordinator/secondary coach Brian Stewart

Names to know: CB Jeremiah Johnson (sophomore), CB Avery Graham (junior), S Undray Clark (redshirt freshman)

Career starts returning: 33 (Franklin 14, McDougle 12, Robinson 4, Hendy 3)

Career starts lost: 54 (Chism 32, Hughes 16, Till 6)

BREAKDOWN

In a rather interesting twist, Maryland’s secondary – which contributed to the nation’s No. 93 pass efficiency defense – looks quite a bit like it did this time last year.

Franklin, McDougle and Robinson all appeared to be likely starters entering coach Randy Edsall’s first spring, and they again sit atop the depth chart. The three, of course, had very different 2011 seasons.

Franklin ranked second on the roster in tackles as a junior; that was good for him and not-so-good for the Terps, who would probably rather not have a safety cracking the 100-tackle plateau since it means those stops weren’t being made by linebacker.

McDougle quietly had the best season of any of Maryland’s corners, breaking up a team-high six passes.

Robinson, meanwhile, suffered a shoulder injury in the season’s third game and wound up collecting a medical hardship waiver and will come back as a redshirt sophomore.

All three are known quantities and relatively consistent players. The more curious developments in the secondary will come from backups and the competition for the cornerback slot Chism and Hughes shared last year.

Johnson is listed as a starter at that spot, but he had five tackles in nine games and is hardly a tested entity. Graham, who shifts back to the secondary after a puzzling move to linebacker last year, is listed as his backup. Graham played on special teams for the first half of the year before suffering a season-ending injury.

Goins, who signed with Maryland in December, is listed as McDougle’s backup, while Hendy is slotted behind Robinson after starting the last three games of the season.

One guy who won’t be heard from in the spring is redshirt freshman Makinton Dorleant, who is still recovering from surgery after tearing a knee ligament late last season in practice. Robinson is expected to be limited over the next few weeks as well.

Patrick Stevens

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